Guest Opinion: White supremacy, racism and violence -- we can stay silent no more


I can't remain silent. None of us can. White privilege is a cancer in our country. Racism is a cancer. Violence is a cancer. Precious child of God, George Floyd was yet another victim of this systemic evil system of white privilege, racism and violence. George Floyd’s brutal death at the hands of evil systemic racism was not a rare act in this country. It has happened in this country since its inception and continued on from there. It hides itself under the sinful idea that one group of people, whites are superior to all others. Blatantly and subtly whites have been told they are smarter and more important than any other.

All over the country, and world, people of color have had enough. Their protests for years have been systematically ignored just as their rights and dignity and God given beauty have been. And so it is not a surprise that anger is spilling out everywhere. Anger and hurt are twins. I affirm the vast majority of protesters whose marches and rallies have been rightfully organized with strength, pointed messages without violence that expose evil. I also affirm those police officers and governmental leaders who have not bowed down to the idol of racism and white privilege. But I understand why violence erupted in many of these protests. And I still condemn it as I do white privilege and racism.

Standing in front of a church, and holding up a Bible after igniting more street violence is not an act of leadership. It is the very opposite. And from my faith point of view, it is blasphemous. And while I’m at it, I need to also take my own inventory on racism, how I participate in it and how it also benefits me as a white male in this country. And I need to repent.

As a bishop, I tell our young people who are in Faith Formation that our lives were claimed by God for good, courageous and loving deeds for the sake of the world. We were claimed for a life that courageously stands against evil, and for that great Biblical word, agape (love), which seeks the neighbor’s good and puts it even before our own good. Jesus defined the neighbor, as everyone, no exceptions. That’s the essence of what it means to live out Christianity.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16)


May God agitate us into the good, truth-telling, courageous and organized works of love that boldly address the sins of racism, white supremacy, and violence.

Bishop Aitken serves the territory of Northeastern Minnesota, with 130 ELCA congregations including First Lutheran, Trinity, Bethlehem, Bethel, and Lord of Life of the Brainerd/Baxter area; Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa; Crosslake Lutheran, Crosslake; Light of the Cross Lutheran in Garrison; and Aitkin area congregations.
What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads